The visit of the Foshan Dralions on Wednesday is a chance for the Sharks to get their revenge against the side that defeated them back in November thanks to an improbably brilliant performance from Gerald Green. The former Boston guard dragged his side back from the brink of defeat with an electrifying performance of booming dunks and big threes in a game that began Shanghai’s early season slide into the bottom of the table. Continue reading “Scouting Report: Foshan Dralions”
A swashbuckling, free flowing Shanghai Sharks overcame the odds and beat the more fancied Guangsha Lions in their first home game of the season and in doing so, erased the bitter memories of the consecutive defeats on the road. Coach Daniel Panaggio will be pleased with what he saw from the sidelines as his team overcame their more illustrious opposition.
The two reasonably high scoring teams both looked to take control of the game as quickly as possible but it was the Sharks, led by Mike Harris, that eventually forged ahead early in the second quarter. With the former Houston Rocket forward pulling the strings on both sides of the court, the Sharks eased into the half time interval 53-40 up, much to the delight of a vocal home crowd.
Shanghai’s onslaught continued after the break as Harris, ably aided by Ryan Kelly, set about the Lions with renewed vigour, and their crisp, accurate shooting helped open up a sizeable lead going into the fourth quarter. Unlike previous games, the Sharks did not waste their hard fought lead and instead patiently added to it as the game ebbed away. Guangsha looked shell shocked and despite scoring 25 points, Chandler found himself withdrawn before the end as the away side acknowledged that the match was beyond them
To a loud roar from their fans, the game ended with the Sharks victorious by a margin of 91-75. Kelly finished with 30 points, Harris underlined his own impressive performance with 18 points and 16 rebounds whilst Peng Fei and Taiwanese forward Tseng Wen-ting also stood out with a hard working, muscular performance. After such a commanding display, the Sharks have made a statement to their CBA rivals and will welcome their next opposition, Jillin Tigers, with the renewed confidence of a team that had finally found some momentum.
Two words. Wilson Chandler. The American forward is the centre piece of a team gunning for a title run, and has hit the ground running in the CBA, with a points-per-game average of 33.8.
The Hangzhou based outfit made the CBA playoffs in the two previous CBA seasons but didn’t make the final on either occasion. Thanks to the NBA lockout, the Lions already picked up Wilson but also recently attempted to double their Chandler factor by attempting to sign the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler as well – a sign of their fiscal firepower.
Standing on the sidelines for the Lions will be the venerable Jim Cleamons, who won the NBA title as a player back in 1972 with the LA Lakers and then called the shots for the Dallas Mavericks from 1996-1997 in-between assistant jobs in Chicago, (where he won a ring as part of the Bulls backroom staff in 1991) New Orleans and Oklahoma.
For the Sharks, this will be a daunting home game, their first of the 2011-2012 season. Taiwanese guard Lin Chih-Chieh can also cause more than a little mischief and Guangsha haven’t scored less than 89 points in a game this season. If the Sharks are sensible, they will have spent their six day break since the loss to Foshan working out a way to deal with Chandler, who will have had enough exposure on TV for Daniel Panaggio to work out if he can be slowed down (early indications seem to imply ‘no’).
I have a horrible feeling that this game might quickly blossom into a cards-all-in, offensive shoot-out, something which Mssrs. Liu, Harris and Kelly will be more than content to involve themselves in. Whether or not they can keep pace with the ferocity of the Lions’ weapons remains to be seen but if the triangle offense and defensive competency was suddenly going to come together, there couldn’t be a better time than tomorrow, live on CCTV against one of the most eye-catching sides in the CBA.
We came, we saw, we lost. Again.
Once more did the Sharks hustle, fight and play good defence but once again, they found themselves on the losing side and now have a 0-3 record for their troubles.
Gerald Green, the source of more than one jib by yours truly due to the bizarre focus he receives via winning a novelty competition almost five years ago, came good in this one. The forward handled his business on the court like a real All-Star and ultimately was the deciding factor in Foshan, dropping 41 points in a swaggering, all-action display.
Indeed, there really wasn’t too much between the teams for the first three-quarters and accurate shooting from both sides meant that neithier team could pull away.
Enter the fourth quarter and things got interesting. Shanghai, having built up a lead, lost it, slowly and agonizingly as Green and his cohorts ate away at the deficit the Sharks had put together. With a little under three minutes left, Green nailed a booming dunk and the roar from the crowd exploded. It was on. Shanghai knew it and wilted under the pressure. A long range shot from downtown by Green was enough to do it and the Sharks drifted off into another frustrating defeat.
Panaggio looked pissed. Liu Wei looked crest-fallen. It was a tough reminder that only the full-time score counts and yet again, the Sharks found themselves dashed at the end. Liu made 30 points, Mike Harris got 18, whilst Ryan Kelly and Peng Fei looked lively and full of zip. However, the only stat that people will care about is 0-3. Shanghai have shown they can win. Now they need to do it.
Shanghai’s final road trip for now takes them to the Foshan Dralions, whose savvy marketing team clearly decided that being just one intimidating creature wasn’t good enough and threw and extra beast of slaughter into their name for good measure.
Under the threat of being blacklisted from Chinese basketball, I am obliged to point out that Foshan’s Gerald Green won the NBA dunk content in 2007. There, I said it, now I can move onto to describing the other players on the Dralion’s roster that could cause problems. Oh, wait….
It’s entirely possible that the Sharks could lose to Foshan, they did the previous season as the two sides each took a victory against the other last year but this is a game that Shanghai will look at as a game to redeem some momentum after two painful losses.
Some points from Tseng Wen-ting would be marvelous but this is all about getting the win against another team with the same record and slightly weaker squad than Shanghai. Mike Harris and Zhang Zhoaxu have had strong games of late and will hopefully continue their momentum into the Foshan game.
Alarm bells won’t ring if the Sharks return to Shanghai at 0-3 but equally it won’t be the best of starts to a season, even before one considers that the first home game is live on CCTV5 against Wilson Chandler and Guangsha Lions.
A dominant Wilson Chandler looked value for money, albeit in a preseason game, as he rained thirty-six points down on Shanghai but his team mates, baring Lin Zhijie, who scored seventeen points, had little interest in joining the party. As a result, the Sharks’ considerably less heralded pair of Americans, Mike Harris and Ryan Kelly conspired to do the dirty on Zhejiang, scoring nineteen and fourteen points respectively, consistently making the big shots when it counted and leading their team to a close victory in a lively encounter.